On CNN’s State of the Union, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs advised us that POTUS has not had a smoke in about nine months, and that since the election the Reps have learned that they can no longer sit around saying “no” but now they have to participate in governing, which is why the Lame Duck session was so productive.
Over at NBC's Meet the Press, senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett echoed Gibbs’ statement about the Reps having to lead, and she also talked about Obama’s desire to spend more time outside Washington, “listening and learning and engaging” with the American people. In the roundtable with Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Peggy Noonan and Bob Woodward, there was a lot of conversation about the lame duck accomplishments, including the tax deal, repeal of DADT. Brokaw pointed out that POTUS was leading from the front, rather than the back, of the pack and how he stood down the Dems who were not pleased with his deal-making with the Reps. Woodward related a story about Bill Clinton at Richard Holbrooke’s wake, and how everyone got caught up in Clinton’s emotional aura, in comparison to Obama still not seeming connected with the people. Obama may need to find his inner Clinton, or to Peggy Noonan's point, he needs to regain his mystique. And everyone thinks it’s going to be an interesting two years starting in January.
Chris Wallace talked with Senator Tom Coburn on Fox News Sunday. Coburn is the one who brought us the Waste Book 2010, with its $11 billion in easy pickings of wasteful spending. Coburn pointed out that both Dem and Rep administrations have not made the kinds of sacrifices that are necessary to keep us from ending up like Greece. When pressed for specifics, he talked about eliminating redundancies and cutting programs, such as having 39 agencies supporting 267 jobs training programs. If we don’t make changes, the senator says, we could see “15 to 18% unemployment”. Also, Coburn gave us this week’s “no way, no how” – he will not run for another term, he’s sticking to his commitment and self-imposed term limit. Last, Bill Kristol, of the Weekly Standard, predicts that Sarah Palin won't run in 2012.